Bulgarians elect new parliament amid COVID fears, anger over graft

Bulgarians elect new parliament amid COVID fears, anger over graft
  • Clock-gray 07:22
  • calendar-gray 04 April 2021

Bulgarians vote in a parliamentary election on Sunday that will decide whether long-serving Prime Minister Boyko Borissov wins a fresh four-year mandate despite persistent concerns about graft in the European Union's poorest member state, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Opinion polls suggest Borissov's centre-right GERB will again be the largest party, with 28-29% of the vote, but will fall short of a majority and may struggle to build a stable coalition in a more fractured parliament.

That in turn could hamper Bulgaria's ability to tap effectively the European Union's 750 billion euro ($884 billion) Recovery Fund to help rebuild its battered economy after the coronavirus pandemic.

Borissov, 61, a burly ex-fireman in power almost without a break since 2009, has sought to showcase his successes in modernising Bulgaria's creaking infrastructure during a low-key campaign held amid surging coronavirus infections.

"We have built a stable base on which the country can develop further. Bringing Bulgaria back to the path of (economic) growth already this year is our main goal," Borissov wrote on his Facebook page on Friday.

More than 6.7 million Bulgarians are eligible to vote, but pollsters expect a low turnout due to voters' fears of the coronavirus and a slow vaccine rollout.

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